Braeden Lange, the 13-year-old gay anti-bullying advocate, will be among those honored March 29 when the Philadelphia 76ers hold a night dedicated to anti bullying and LGBT sports groups.
The night will also support the You Can Play Project and the Out Philadelphia Athletic League. Tickets are $16 with $5 going to the OPAL league of your choice. It will also feature a pre-game mixer at 5:30. Tickets can be purchased using "YOUCANPLAY76" as the promo code.
In addition, the 76ers have set aside tickets for the Anti-Bully Squad, a group started by Denver Broncos kicker Brandon McManus, a Philadelphia native. McManus, a Temple graduate, will attend the game. Tickets for the Anti-Bully Squad can be purchased using "SQUAD" as the promo code.
Braeden gained national attention when ESPN aired a segment on the Courage Game, designed to promote acceptance of gay people in lacrosse, Braeden's sport. He was among the many young LGBT youth who struggle with their sexuality and he is now actively trying to help others.
McManus was the kicker for the Broncos during their Super Bowl run this season, setting an NFL record by going 10 for 10 on field goals in the playoffs. During Super Bowl week, I asked McManus how he sees the issue of bullying for LGBT people.
"In the gay community there is a lot of sense of people being bullied because they're different. One of the biggest things we're trying to prevent is people committing suicide," McManus said. "For these younger kids, they're too afraid to talk to their parents, they feel embarrassed. We're trying to give an avenue for anyone who wants to speak up to help save lives."
You Can Play celebrated its fourth anniversary this month with its focus on ending homophobia in sports. Its latest video features members of the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Toronto Gay Hockey Assn. OPAL is a nonprofit sport and social group for the sports leagues in the Greater Philadelphia Metropolitan area.
The 76ers anti-bully night will be held March 29 at 7 p.m. against the Charlotte Hornets.